Varsity VALORANT team prepares for NECC bracket




After losing at the semifinals of the Red Bull Campus Clutch event last semester, UTD’s varsity VALORANT team plans to work together and learn from its mistakes in preparation for upcoming competitions. 

The Comets ended up in fourth place at the event last fall, which was their first season as a varsity team. The team had been aiming to qualify for a place in national level championships, but their relatively new entrance made it a challenge, according to computer engineering freshman Ethan Van.

Ethan Van

“We thought the competition was low,” Van said. “We thought we would be the best team there. We thought wrong.”

In addition to being a newer participant, the team also faced changing rosters and scheduling issues. Van said that the team is currently working on a weekly VALORANT tournament, with competitions every Monday and practice every Wednesday. The tournament is hosted by the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC). However, due to each member having busy schedules, consistent team practice has not been possible.

“I’m going to be honest, it’s kind of rocky,” Van said. “If we all had a free schedule, per se, I think we would do good.”

In addition to the varsity team, UTD is home to several club VALORANT teams that compete in local esports events. On Sunday, Feb. 19, a UTD club team called Granny’s Cookie Jar placed second at the GG EZ Gaming Cafe in Plano. Several members of the varsity team are members of Granny’s Cookie Jar as well, including Van and Avneesh Agarwal, the varsity team’s manager. Agarwal, a mechanical engineering junior, said that despite the scheduling conflicts of last season, the team’s members are slowly returning to the game.

“The atmosphere is a lot better,” Agarwal said. “People are having a lot more fun, and we’re actually performing a lot better than earlier.”

Although he joined as the team’s manager only this semester, Agarwal said that the new roster is a promising one. With the addition of two new players due to old members graduating, the team’s dynamic has grown positively.

“People actually want to be there,” Agarwal said. “People want to practice multiple times a week. Everyone’s hyping each other up.”

The new team roster comes with its own challenges, however. Justin Jung, computer science senior, said that improving synergy is a matter of great importance to the team. As the team’s in-game leader, Jung said that the constantly changing roster has been difficult to adjust to, as figuring out each members role takes time, practice and commitment. Jung said that this semester, the team is focusing on improving communication and chemistry.

“I think that comes down to us playing more as a team and just hanging out as friends,” Jung said. “… We just need a little bit more commitment to each other rather than just the game.”

While they have been performing well for a new varsity VALORANT team, some crucial matches were lost last season, including the Red Bull Campus Clutch event. The wins and losses the team has faced have impacted the team dynamic as they work towards upcoming matches this season. Currently, the team stands at fourth place in their NECC group.

“Personally, I’m more motivated,” Jung said. “Some people are still a little bit stressed out from it. But I think working on ourselves and working more towards just us as players instead of players of the game is what’s going to help us get rid of that feeling.”




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